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More than 100,000 Chilean protesters took to Santiago's streets on Wednesday to demand fair distribution of wealth and education reform.
More than 100,000 Chileans protesters took to Santiago's streets on Wednesday to demand fair distribution of wealth and education reform.
While the majority of the protesters were students, they were joined by union members, port workers and miners as well.
The violence in Santiago began before protests swept across the rest of Chile on the same day, when a separate pocket of protesters threw Molotov cocktails at a police station. Protesters also took over a restaurant and used its chairs as barricades, stopping traffic on some of the capital city's busiest roads.
"This has to do with discontent that is deeply rooted in many sectors of society. But we're the first ones to sympathize with people who are innocent victims of this violence, because there's no way to justify these types of clashes," Andres Fielbaum, president of the University of Chile's student federation, told state television.
"They are not students, they are criminals and extremists," Interior and Security Minister Andres Chadwick told a press conference. "They've acted in a coordinated and planned way to provoke these acts of violence."
Chile's militarized police, known as the Carabineros, said they arrested 98 people protesters, and that four officers were injured during the clashes.
Santiago's Governor Juan Antonio Peribonio said that the government had filed criminal complaints against those who attacked the police.
"We have almost 100 people under arrest, many of them ... for carrying incendiary devices," he said.
Peribonio also noted that the damage caused by the protests would cost both the public and private sectors millions of dollars, saying that "bus stops, traffic lights, commercial establishments, among others" had been damaged.